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Tarpon Springs officials look at fixing playground at Mango Circle public housing complex

Mikayla Sullivan, 11, below, watches as Jamarion Jenkins, 3, plays on the slide last week at the Mango Circle housing project in Tarpon Springs, where they live. The playground’s equipment is in disrepair. 

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Mikayla Sullivan, 11, below, watches as Jamarion Jenkins, 3, plays on the slide last week at the Mango Circle housing project in Tarpon Springs, where they live. The playground’s equipment is in disrepair. 

TARPON SPRINGS — The Tarpon Springs Housing Authority is looking at how much it would cost to improve a playground that's littered with glass and has equipment in disrepair in one of its communities.

Tarpon Springs city Commissioner Chris Alahouzos also has asked City Manager Mark LeCouris to keep an eye on the playground situation at the Mango Circle housing complex.

"Regardless of where the responsibility falls with Housing Authority or the City of Tarpon Springs, we all have the responsibility to keep our children safe," Alahouzos wrote in a memo Wednesday. "… Mr. LeCouris, I am requesting that you examine and evaluate this matter and report back to us with a recommendation and workable solution."

The actions came in the wake of a story in Sunday's regional editions of the St. Petersburg Times that revealed a playground with broken glass and a broken basketball goal, as well as an absence of swings for years and equipment with no cushioning.

Pat Weber, the housing authority's executive director, is investigating how much it would cost to make the area safer. She will report her findings to the authority's commission at its meeting next Thursday.

"We will do what we can do," Weber said. "I'm going to give them some options."

Mango Circle was built in the early 1970s, and the small playground sits in the middle of the 60-unit housing complex. The complex is due to be destroyed in 2010 to make way for better public housing.

The Tarpon Springs Housing Authority has 225 apartments citywide. Half of the residents are elderly, and the other half are families. Of the families, 85 percent of them have members working in low-paying jobs, Weber said.

"It's simple," said Linda Herring, the chairwoman of the housing authority commission. "We will do whatever it takes to get it up to par and make it safe for our children, and I have no doubt that the commission will do the right thing."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or dalee@sptimes.com.

Tarpon Springs officials look at fixing playground at Mango Circle public housing complex 04/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:37pm]
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